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Dog joins college

Barton Peveril Sixth Form College in Eastleigh has begun bringing in a Therapy Dog to help students with their mental health. The Therapy Dog’s first week falls during the Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Week, 13th–19thMay 2019, and is one way the College’s Health and Wellbeing Team are supporting students in the build up to exams.

Barney, the Therapy Dog, has proven to be very popular among students who can drop in to see him throughout the day in their study periods, between lessons and before exams.

Speaking on the benefits of Therapy Dogs, College Counsellor Helen Cunliffe said: “The students have responded to Barney very positively. Many students have dogs at home and use them for support, so to have Barney in college during a stressful exam period has been a very familiar way to get some additional support.”

College Nurse Shelley Hughes, who owns Barney, said: “Whilst we are mindful that not everyone will want to relate to a dog, the response to Barney being in college has been overwhelming. Interactions with students and staff around the campus inevitably result in smiles and a chat, and on an individual level Barney has already proved himself to be a great comfort to students in need of some support. This has been a great boost, particularly as the exam season approaches.”

Amy Shepherd, a former Brookfield Community School pupil who met Barney before one of her exams, said: “Barney is very cute and has made me feel more relaxed before my exam, especially as I have a dog at home.

The College Nurse and College Counsellor have been greeting students as they arrive at college, whilst dressed as bananas, providing help and advice on coping with stress; they offered free water and bananas, self-help material, and directions towards the services they, as the Health and Wellbeing team, and others offer all year round.

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